Philippines says COVID-19 vaccination drive on track as cases surge
AsiaFILE PHOTO: A health worker prepares a syringe with the Sinovac Biotech's Coronavac vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Sta. Ana Hospital, in Manila, Philippines, March 2, 2021. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David14 Mar 2021 07:53PMShare this content
BookmarkMANILA: The Philippines is on track with its COVID-19 inoculation drive, the head of the government's vaccine strategy said on Sunday (Mar 14), addressing criticisms that the rollout has been slow as worries grow about a surge in new cases.
The Department of Health reported 4,899 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, a day after recording the largest single-day increase in more than six months with 5,000 additional infections.AdvertisementAdvertisementThe latest tally brought the country's total confirmed cases to 621,498, among the highest in Asia, with the reported death toll increasing by 63 to 12,829. headtopics.com
READ: Philippines detects first case of COVID-19 variant from Brazil, confirms local variantCarlito Galvez, who is in charge of the government's vaccine procurement programme, said almost 90 per cent of the more than 1 million doses that arrived so far had been deployed nationwide.
"(The government) is on track in implementing its immunisation programme and optimistic that it would be able to achieve its target of inoculating about 70 per cent of the country's population within this year," Galvez said in a statement.
AdvertisementAdvertisementThe country's vaccination drive started on Mar 1 with 600,000 Sinovac shots donated by China. The Philippines also received an initial 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine through the COVAX facility.The total volume is just a small fraction of the 161 million doses the government plans to acquire to inoculate 50 million to 70 million Filipinos this year.
With limited supply, only frontline medical staff and healthcare workers are being given shots at the moment.AdvertisementThe rise in cases has prompted mayors in Metro Manila to reimpose localised lockdowns and nighttime curfews for two weeks beginning on Monday. headtopics.com
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